The Rule of 1


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Guess what? Habit change only works in baby steps. If you try to make massive habit changes immediately you’re going to fail.  Your new habits will only last a few weeks and your brain will force you back into old habit patterns. Creating new habits is a brain energy hog. It sucks up a lot of the glucose and oxygen (brain fuel) that the brain desperately needs for other tasks. Eventually your brain will send a directive to the basal ganglia (habit command and control center and energy efficiency manager for the brain) that this new massive habit change is consuming too much brain fuel and the basal ganglia than goes on high alert, seeking out triggers for old habits, because old habits consume less brain fuel. The key is to prevent the brain from putting the basal ganglia on high alert. You’ve got to keep your habit change below the radar, so to speak.

The Rule of 1 is the solution. This rule is very simple: you add one good habit and subtract one bad habit for one month. Pre-populate your to-do list with these new habits for a month so they automatically show up on that list every day for 30 days. The brain will hardly notice. Over the course of 12 months you’ll have changed 24 habits. It is massive habit change, just not immediate, massive habit change.

For example, if you want to do more self-education reading and exercise more (Rich Habits) and you also want to cut back on watching T.V. and smoking cigarettes (Poverty Habits), start out by reading 15 minutes each day and cutting back on T.V. 15 minutes, each day, for the first month. In month two, add to your to-do list 15 minutes of aerobic exercise and one less cigarette a day. In months 3-12, use the Rule of 1 for all the other habits habits you’d like to change.

Try it for a month. Start with small habit changes first. That will build up your confidence and create momentum for more complicated habit changes down the road.


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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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